Shoulder replacement


Shoulder replacement is surgery to replace the bones of the shoulder joint with artificial joint parts.


You will receive anesthesia before this surgery. Two types of anesthesia can be used:

The shoulder is a ball and socket joint. The round end of the arm bone fits into the opening at the end of the shoulder blade, called the socket. This type of joint allows you to move your arm in most directions.

For total shoulder replacement, the round end of your arm bone will be replaced with an artificial stem that has a rounded metal head. The socket part (glenoid) of your shoulder blade will be replaced with a smooth plastic shell (lining) that will be held in place with special cement. If only 1 of these 2 bones needs to be replaced, the surgery is called a partial shoulder replacement, or a hemiarthroplasty.

For shoulder joint replacement, your surgeon will make an incision (cut) over your shoulder joint to open up the area. Then your surgeon will:

Your surgeon may place a tube in this area to drain fluid that may build up in the joint. The drain will be removed when you no longer need it.

This surgery normally takes 1 to 3 hours.

Why the Procedure Is Performed

Shoulder replacement surgery is often done when you have severe pain in the shoulder area, which limits your ability to move your arm. Causes of shoulder pain include:

Your doctor may not recommend this surgery if you have:


Risks of anesthesia and surgery in general are:

Risks of shoulder replacement surgery are:

Before the Procedure

Tell your health care provider what medicines you are taking. This includes medicines, supplements, or herbs you bought without a prescription.

During the 2 weeks before your surgery:

On the day of your surgery:

After the Procedure

After the procedure:

Outlook (Prognosis)

Shoulder replacement surgery relieves pain and stiffness for most people. You should be able to resume your normal daily activities without much problem. Many people are able to return to sports such as golf, swimming, gardening, bowling, and others.

Your new shoulder joint will last longer if less stress is placed on it. With normal use, a new shoulder joint can last for at least 10 years.

Review Date: 11/27/2016
Reviewed By: C. Benjamin Ma, MD, Professor, Chief, Sports Medicine and Shoulder Service, UCSF Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, San Francisco, CA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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